At least 25 out of 32 Kenyans who perished in the Ethiopian plane crash on Sunday morning, have been positively identified, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has said.
In briefing at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) VIP lounge on Monday, Mr Macharia said a multi-agency team was working to identify the rest as plans to ferry them home continued.
The multi-agency team comprises officers from Kenya Airways, Kenya Airports Authority, Ethiopian Airlines, Disaster Management Unit and Air Accident Division among others.
The Ethiopian Airline will offer free air tickets to Ethiopia for willing family members of those who perished to assist in identifying the bodies.
Mr Macharia said that counselling services for affected families were also available. The families are currently hosted at Four Points Sheraton inside JKIA.
Ethiopian Airlines Country Manager Yilima Goshu said that the airline had grounded its remaining Boeing 737 Max planes as a precautionary measure.
He, however, clarified that the accident was not related to defects in the plane. He asked the media to be sensitive in dealing with families that have lost their loved ones.
Transport Principal Secretary Esther Koimett, who is leading the Kenyan delegation in Addis, said they would ensure the 32 bodies of Kenyans who died in the crash are flown home.
Ms Koimet, the ministry's director of air transport Nicholas Bodo and Kenya's Ambassador to Ethiopia Catherine Mwangi attended a meeting with their Ethiopian counterparts on the crash that has shocked the world.
"We also say pole sana to all those that have been affected and thank the Ethiopian government for the support that they have given us so far," Ms Koimett said.
Meanwhile, the Kenyan Embassy in Ethiopia is receiving and helping families of the crash victims.
"All other work at the embassy has been put on hold in order to deal with the bereaved families," she said.
The Kenya Airline Pilots Association (Kapa) has sent its condolences to the families affected by the crash.
"To the families and friends of the passengers and crew members, we stand in solidarity with you at this time of sorrow. It is our hope that the Almighty will grant you the strength and fortitude to bear this tragic loss," said Captain Murithi Nyagah, the Kapa secretary-general and CEO in a statement.